Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

during their visits abroad and, as the N.K.V.D. knew, the technique of
such attempts had greatly advanced since the days when the Pole
Berezowski had fired at Alexander III in Paris. The choice of Teheran
was the only concession Stalin would make, since it was on the outskirts
of the zone of the Russian occupation of Persia. To the surprise of the
Atlantic Democracies, however, the meeting was held on Russian territory.,
namely, in the Soviet Embassy. When Churchill and Roosevelt arrived
at Teheran, they were informed that the Russians had learnt from a most
reliable source that the Germans had planned an attempt on the Big
Three; in view of this warning., the Russians did not think it advisable
to take any risk (both their fears and this information may have been
groundless), and they therefore proposed to hold the meeting at the
Russian Embassy, where  everything had been prepared, and where the
building was exceptionally suited to resist any surprise attempt since the
house was encircled by a garden surrounded by a large wall,5 etc. Thus
Churchill and Roosevelt found themselves in the Soviet Embassy under
the protection of Stalin's personal bodyguard (which had no one below
a major among its ranks), while stationed at each corner of the house, at
every tree in the garden, at every five paces round the wall, were men
with tommy-guns. The city of Teheran itself was flooded with plain-
clothed agents and the security troops of the N.K.V.D. It was suggested
that Roosevelt, to avoid over-fatigue, should stay on the spot, in the
apartments already prepared for him. Thus, even in Teheran, the two
partners were constantly forced to remember, as in an American gangster
film, the threat of the still omnipotent foe.
Although the knowledge of these alleged German attempts rested
exclusively with Stalin, and the technique of thisc protection' (it amounted
almost to a kidnapping of the leaders of the Atlantic Democracies) was
rather obvious, nevertheless, it was completely successful, since the two
leaders concerned, anxious to maintain a friendly atmosphere, fell into
the part assigned them without argument*
Stalin allowed five invitations to go by unheeded before he accepted
and met the Big Two. With him had rested the choice of the meeting
place and the time. The time-factor was of the greatest importance,
since it was not his intentions to discuss and ask, but merely to present
his terms and await the answer. Events transpired according to plan,
and the discussion which followed was limited to technique of execution,
and only in these details was Aline Host prepared to be generous to his
Sir Eyre Crowe, then the head of the Western Department of the Foreign
Office, in his memorandum for the Cabinet in 1907, had formulated the
aims of the British policy in relation to the Continent. The name of Sir
Eyre Crowe had been frequently mentioned as the personification of the
upright policy of Tory Britain: " British policy,5' to quote his words,